Caring For Your Opals Whether Natural or Lab Made
Jewelry care is a topic I love educating others about because there’s literally so much misinformation. A quick search can render a lot of information but it isn’t exactly accurate information. When it comes to caring for any natural gemstone avoid using chemicals or any other cleaning solution. Soapy water and a toothbrush is all you need to clean them. If that doesn’t get the job done, please bring it to your local jewelers to have it professionally cleaned. Now, let’s talk about caring for your opals.
What’s the difference between natural and lab made?
The main difference between natural and lab made opals are their color. Natural opals vary in flashiness and they also vary in their patterns of color. Lab made opals on the other hand have uniform patterns of color and can be found in nearly every color. Lab made opals tend to be more affordable than natural opals. Sometimes lab made opals are labeled as synthetic but please ensure these are actually lab made before purchasing as technically, synthetic opals are chemically different than opals and are really imitations. Synthetic opals tend to contain cheap materials like glass or acrylic.
What are some myths surrounding caring for opals?
Opals need to be hydrated.
Opals don’t need to be hydrated even though they contain 3-10% water. They also don’t need to be rubbed in oil as the gems aren’t porous.
Opals are fragile.
While opals are more fragile than some other gemstones, they won’t crumble if worn with care. Avoid wearing them if they’ll be banged around and exercise common sense to avoid damaging them.
Soaking your opal or rubbing with toothpaste will restore its shine.
If your opal has some signs of wear and tear and is beginning to look a bit dull, the only way to restore its shine is to have it professionally polished.
Best way to clean opals.
If your opal is starting to look a little dirty, you can easily clean them with soap and a toothbrush. Using chemical jewelry cleaners or an ultrasonic machine can damage the gemstone.
How to store opals when you aren’t wearing them.
Like other natural gemstones, the best way to store your opal pieces is in a cool, dry space. Keep jewelry separated when storing to avoid damage and don’t forget to wipe down your piece before storing to remove dirt and oils.
Caring for opals isn’t difficult. They don’t require special care compared to other gemstones, so if you’ve avoided them there’s no reason to. Lab made opals can be cared for in the same manner as natural opals because their chemical compositions are the same. By caring for your jewelry, you’ll ensure it’s longevity so you can enjoy it for generations.